Recommended Puzzle Books

Mr C Dodd – Staff Editor

According to Professor Steven Clontz, “generally speaking, a puzzle is any question/problem which satisfies two properties: (1) it is designed to entertain the solver; (2) there is a well-defined solution.” Solving puzzles helps to develop critical thinking, reasoning and problem solving. In all walks of life, from school, college and university to professional employment and a successful career, leaders are able to analyse unfamiliar problems, devise problem solving strategies, and evaluate the diverse ways a problem may be solved.

Challenging puzzle books are a great way to build confidence and develop your toolkit for tackling complex and unfamiliar subjects. There are hundreds of puzzle books to choose from, so get stuck in! If you enjoy solving puzzles and want more, writer and broadcaster Alex Bellos sets a challenging Monday Puzzle every fortnight in The Guardian. CPD

How Many Socks Make A Pair?

Rob Eastaway (2014)

What do a limerick, a drawer full of socks, a newspaper, a pile of library books and a bathroom mirror have in common? The answer is that they all have some fascinating, even beautiful, maths hidden within them. This book is a hands-on demonstration of maths that anyone, even a complete maths-phobe, can actually enjoy.

Rob Eastaway

Puzzle Ninja

Alex Bellos (2018)

The puzzle masters of Japan create the world’s most satisfying puzzles, so Alex Bellos travelled to Tokyo to meet them. These enigmatologists include the god-father of Sudoku, the winner of the WorldPuzzle Championships, an inspiring teacher who uses games to enliven his students’ maths lessons, and the puzzle poet whose name has become a Sudoku-solving technique. 

Alex Bellos

Are You Smart Enough To Work At Google?

William Poundstone (2013)

You are shrunk to the height of a penny and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in sixty seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of the world’s top employers, you’ll need to have a convincing answer to this and countless other baffling puzzles.

William Poundstone

Can You Solve My Problems?

Alex Bellos (2016)

Are you smarter than a Singaporean ten-year-old? Can you beat Sherlock Holmes? If you think the answer is yes – I challenge you to solve my problems. Here is the story of the puzzle, one of mankind’s oldest and greatest forms of entertainment and enlightenment, told through 125 of the world’s best brainteasers from the last two millennia. It takes us from ancient China to medieval Europe, Victorian England to modern-day Japan, with stories of espionage, mathematical breakthroughs and puzzling rivalries along the way.

Alex Bellos

The GCHQ Puzzle Book

GCHQ (2016)

Would GCHQ recruit you? Pit your wits against the people who cracked Enigma in the official puzzle book from Britain’s secretive intelligence organisation. GCHQ is a top-secret intelligence and security agency which recruits some of the very brightest minds. Over the years, their codebreakers have helped keep our country safe, from the Bletchley Park breakthroughs of WWII to the modern-day threat of cyberattack. So it comes as no surprise that, even in their time off, the staff at GCHQ love a good puzzle. Whether they’re recruiting new staff or challenging each other to the toughest Christmas quizzes and treasure hunts imaginable, puzzles are at the heart of what GCHQ does. Now they’re opening up their archives of decades’ worth of codes, puzzles and challenges for everyone to try.


Thinking Skills: Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

John Butterworth & Geoff Thwaites (2013)

Thinking Skills, Second edition, is the only endorsed coursebook that provides complete coverage of the Cambridge AS and A Level Thinking Skills syllabus offering substantially updated, new and revised content. It also contains extensive extra material to cover related awards. Written by experienced and highly respected authors, this book includes features such as clearly focused and differentiated units, stimulating student activities with commentaries to develop analytical skills, summaries of key concepts to review learning, end-of-chapter assignments to reinforce knowledge and skills, and a mapping grid to demonstrate the applicability of each unit to awards including Critical Thinking, BMAT and TSA.

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